Last night, you heard the Agriculture Minister's anxious concern that this late into December, there is still uncertainty about when the 2022/2023 Sugar Crop Season will start.
As we told you, the millers, BSI/ASR, have already indicated to the four sugar cane farmer associations in the north that they are ready. Industry insiders tell us that there was a crop progress meeting on Wednesday in which the BSI representative informed the leaders of the four associations that they had successful steam trials, which indicated that the mill is ready to accept cane.
We understand that several leaders in the meeting asked Marcos Osorio, the Chairman of the Sugar Industries Control Board, to officially declare next Monday as the start. The SICB is legally the only body that can declare the start of the crop season through a publication in the Government Gazette. We are told that Osorio claimed that he would, but the Associations are still waiting on that publication.
We are told that Osorio has called for a SICB meeting tomorrow and that he has cited the mediation efforts that are ongoing between the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and BSI/ASR.
They are the only association out of the four that still have not signed a long-term commercial agreement, and we understand that the other three are anxious to get started, especially because the weather is currently excellent for cane deliveries.
This evening, we spoke to Cosme Hernandez, the General Manager of the Progressive Sugar Cane Producers Association, and he told us that his members took major losses last year because of the BSCFA Blockade, where 14 days were lost. That saga, compounded with the bad weather, caused them to have a lot of stand-over cane. He told us that his association's membership is considering taking legal action to protect its membership from any kind of financial loss this year.
We also contacted BSI/ASR, but they told us that they will make a comment on Monday.
We also contacted Marcos Osorio for comment on the delay in the Gazetting of the start of the crop, but up until news time, he has not responded.Channel 7